Is the art of storyboarding being lost in animation?

animation

Many thought demand for animation art had petered out after a boom in the 1980s. But new generations of animators have stepped in. The animators still believe storyboarding is the best way to share your vision and thereby animate objects.

Desirable periods run the gamut from the 1920s, when animation shorts began, to the late 1990s, when studios producing animated films switched from hand-painted to digital images. Walt Disney Co.’s Pixar Animation Studios, responsible for such hits as “Toy Story,” was an early practitioner of digital animation.

Walt Disney animator Webb Smith first used storyboarding during the early 1930s. Smith used the idea of drawing scenes of the Disney short “The Three Little Pigs” on separate sheets of paper and pinning them up on a bulletin board to tell the story in sequence. One of the first live action films to be completely storyboarded was “Gone with the Wind”.

Storyboarding became popular in live-action film production during the early 1940s, and became standard for the pre-visualization of films. Today it is an expected part of the pre-production process. Storyboards can also assist people working on the set of a film, to see exactly what will be happening in the scene. And by film it is not necessary that it is always a live-action movie, it can be also an animated film.

The difference between animation and live action film is that they do the editing before we start the animation process. First everything is locked in a storyboard and then we start filling in the drawings. It is not just the artist, title or studio that determines whether a piece of animation art has value. Other keys are the popularity of the characters shown, and their poses.

If the basic practice of drawing a storyboard is lost, the value and the precision of animation will also get lost at some point in  the animation process. The art of storyboarding is a powerful tool to help communicate ideas. They can create a dialogue with your team so you can develop a compelling and cohesive story. When used properly they can streamline production, get everyone on the same page, avoid common mistakes, and keep things on track.

It is time we appreciate art in its traditional form as well and then embrace it with technology if needed so. Always unleash the artist in you and keep art and animation alive.